The brilliant Richard Thompson, an artist of immense gifts and creator of the last great comic strip, Cul de Sac, passed away today.
I've written about Richard several times on this blog, always inadequately. I've written about his courageous decision to end his strip in 2012 when Parkinson's cruelly stripped him of his god-given gifts, and the book about his art that was created as an homage to Richard by fellow artists such as Bill Watterson, Peter de Seve, John Kascht and Nick Galifianakis.
As I wrote in that book:
Richard's lines wobble like an infant learning to walk, teetering to the right and to the left of what the laws of perspective and anatomy might require. His shapes are askew as if they were lured from the straight path by a more fun place to play. Yet those same lines are applied with such exquisite precision, his drawings would be diminished by any variation. His beautiful ungainly pictures place him among the very top artists in his field.You can view an excellent documentary about Richard below. His extraordinary gifts deserve your attention.
In the final stages of Richard's illness, he sat immobilized in a wheel chair barely able to whisper a single word. Still, some of the most talented and famous cartoonists and illustrators came from far and wide just to sit in his presence. They were a boisterous group, sitting around Richard's messy kitchen table (littered with Richard's crappy diet of Cheetos, orange soda and corn nuts) drawing sketches, laughing and telling jokes. But the instant that Richard attempted to say something, all noise ceased. Everyone turned expectantly to Richard and strained to hear his few squeaked words, which were consistently the best part of the conversation.
Even ravaged by Parkinsons, he was always the funniest man in the room.